Junta arson attack kills 2 villagers in Myanmar’s Sagaing region

The elderly men were unable to flee when troops set fire to their homes.
By RFA Burmese
Junta arson attack kills 2 villagers in Myanmar’s Sagaing region The remains of homes in Shwe Taung village, Budalin township, Sagaing region, burned down by junta troops on Jan. 2, 2023.
Chin Cable Network Channel

Two elderly men died when their houses were burned down by junta troops in a Sagaing region village, locals told RFA.

The men were too old to flee following a previous arson attack and were still living in Budalin township’s Shwe Taung village when a military column entered on Monday and torched 13 houses.

“A 92-year-old crippled man and another man who is over 100 years old and could not move were trapped in the fire,” said Min, the township's communications officer. He said one of the men begged the troops not to set fire to his home.

Min, who goes by one name, said an anti-junta People’s Defense Force soldier was also killed while scouting in a nearby forest.

The troops who set fire to the village belonged to a battalion from the Yangon-based Air Defense Force, which had arrived to reinforce troops in Budalin township, residents said. RFA was unable to independently confirm the claim.

Locals said the junta cut internet and phone access in Budalin ahead of the attack.

Aye Lwin, the junta spokesman for Sagaing region said he was not aware of any attack and told RFA to contact the junta’s minister of security and border affairs.

The military’s national spokesman, Maj. Gen. Zaw Min Tun, told RFA junta troops had not set fire to houses in Shwe Taung.

More than 27,000 houses in Sagaing region have been burned down since the military seized power in a February 2021 coup, according to figures released last month by independent research group Data for Myanmar.

Translated by RFA Burmese. Written in English by Mike Firn.


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